Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My own quilt show... at Aunt Dottie's. I had forgotten to bring my camara- bad Nines, and my Uncle Ken let me use his. He burned me a CD of the pictures I had taken and it came in the mail, today. So, thank you Uncle Ken! His mother made all of these lovely quilts. Aren't they smart? She was really very, very good. (I think she must have loved pretty things, because I remember my cousin, her granddaughter, getting these elaborate, ruffly dresses for Xmas. I can still see Aimee prancing down the hall going to Sunday school- shaking the hem of her fancy dress- there was a bell sewn in there. Ching-ching-ching. Aimee is an actress, today.) Can you make out the baptist fan quilting in the top picture? I'm not sure if you can see it, but the textiles in these are all still very bright. The snow balls aren't really snow balls but are bow ties. And I love the four-pointed string stars- the backing for it is the prettiest pink and yellow flowered feed sack. I'm a sucker for pink lemonade. My favorite is probably the log cabins- I love the pastels in her light values. It is quite a collection.

I got 3 quilts delivered, today, and had the loveliest visit with Miss Thelma. She is 90 years old and doesn't look a day over 60. And is so spry and just a really lovely person. She says that her trick is working hard and drinking lots of water. Her daughter called while were looking over the quilts and she teased her that they were just such a dissappointment, but what could you expect from such a pitiful collection of tops? Apparently, she is quite the teaser 'cause she was so thrilled with them. Sarah- you should see her tea cup collection- they were bursting out of cupboards everywhere. I had some time to kill while waiting for DH to finish a job at the hospital and so I bought some more tomato plants and ok, a few more flowers. And I got my hair cut. Sarah, are you ok? Honey, talk to me. Oh, just a little, maybe 5 inches. It still is a few inches over my shoulders. But feels so much better. DH finds it difficult to carry on a conversation with Sarah when she cuts her hair. It is a beautiful strawberry blonde color and she insists on wearing it so short that it grieves poor Bill. He loves long hair. But honestly, it can be such a bother. We caught a movie before coming home. That's the day in a nutshell. Or a nut's shell.

Speaking of Aunt Dottie...

Sarah said she was going to renew her adoption application with my family and that Aunt Dottie might be fun to be adopted by... and look what's living at her house! I just picked this one out to show you because it's a tulip like the one on Sarah's blog- the T-shirt she made for Maddie. This quilt was made by her MIL. We were thinking about going to a museum to see some quilts, but decided that $15 was bit steep to pay to get in, and so we had our own little show at Aunt Dottie's- and we even got to touch. Better than any museum show. The other quilts in the "show" were gorgeous, and I plan on sharing them, but I need to run. Wait till you see her baptist fans and very Maverick peicing. Beautiful stuff. All hand done.

Monday, May 29, 2006

One of the saved quilts...

This is one of the quilts that I brought home with me from North Carolina... or was it Georgia... or maybe it was Tennessee. You see, my Aunt Shelia and Uncle Tommy live right there in the midst of these three states and the winding drive to their house takes you through each of them, several times, I'm sure.

Aunt Shelia gave me this quilt which I believe her great-grandmother made. The fabrics are very worn and there is a hole on one side that is large enough to put your fist through, but I still think it looks mighty fine on a wall. Reminds me of one that my own great-grandmother Oe would have made. It's kinda patriotic on this Memorial day. The light pieces that seem to be white were, actually, light blue at one time.

Did everyone have a good day, today? Memorial Day has always seemed to be a little of a bummer kinda day, to me. Just a bit sad that the world is the kinda place that it is and we need a day like this to remind us that there are people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. And cemeteries... well, I have always had a fascination with them. They kinda remind me of quilts- have you figured out that I have this illness where everything reminds me of quilts? Those inkblot tests and association games... "Looks like a quilt." But what I mean is that there are these hidden stories and mysteries in old quilts- so much more than little pieces of fabric all sewn together. And cemeteries are like that, too. So much more than just some stones with names on them. Real people with real lives, problems, joys and loves. So much more than just a name and a date. I love it when I find a marker that says those few extra things- maybe an old poem or just "beloved wife and mother." There's a small cemetery just a mile down the road from us. The kids and I will take a walk down there on occasion. Most of the markers are illegible. No one left to put flowers over them. The 'flu hit this area hard during the early part of the last century. Little bits and pieces of life. A touch of documentation... so leave some on your quilts, will ya? Just think of the peace you will be giving some obsessive compulsive quilt rescuer, someday!

Well, I don't know where that came from. I had a really great day. We spent the whole day at home. Well, I did. DH had to run to the auto-supply store for a wrench. He fixed the brake lines on my jeep. So if anything happens to me in the next few days... I'm kidding. He's a very fine fixer. He said they were already leaking, so maybe all those movies where someone flies off a cliff, due to the maniacal actions of some thug, are a little bit exaggerated. Didn't they regularly try to get rid of Jim Rockford in that way? Loved the Rockford Files. Anyway. It seems like Bill can't stay home for a whole day- but if you asked him what he did today, he'd say he stayed home all day. Little errands like that don't seem to count. (I think that comes from growing up in suburbia.) I finished the last quilt for a client. That makes 3. I always feel like I've been gone and need to get all caught up on housework when I am pushing to finish a project for a deadline. This will be some spending money for my mini-retreat with Sarah. They were rather troublesome quilts... one was shaped more like a bowl than a quilt. Have a very few tucks and nothing to keep me up at night. One was candlewicked. Ever try to quilt that stuff? Like little rocks on the quilt. Even with a big machine, it didn't make the bobbin tension happy. The last quilt... well, it went smoothly. She just wanted it done exactly like the other one with horses... about 2 years ago. Done a "few" quilts in that amount of time. Good thing I left myself some notes. Hope it's close enough. I cleaned my bedroom- don't faint Mom. I finally unpacked from our trip to Florida. Organized a few little nooks that no one else would notice, but have been driving me nuts. That would explain this entire rambling post. I've been driven completely nuts by a disorganized vanity shelf. Sprayed the kids with the water hose. It was hot, today. A nice soft hot- the kind that summer was meant to be. Waiting for lightening bugs.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I think his tractor's sexy...

That's Bill (DH) plowing our garden. I am determined to plant, maintain and harvest a garden, this year. I didn't even attempt it last year. A lot of work. But now, there are no green beans on the pantry shelves and no corn in the freezer... and that just ain't right. We planted 1/4 lb of corn seed- I got that for free as the sweet old man at the store said that anyone with 8 kids shouldn't have to pay for corn seeds... now why didn't I think to mention that at the gas station? And we planted a whole lb of green bean seed. How much will all this planting produce? I haven't the foggiest. It's not just the vagaries of weather, but I really don't know how much that will all wind up being. It is a pretty big garden- seems bigger when you are standing in the middle of it with a hoe. Figure we will make it a family project. If everybody hoes 2 rows... yeah, that might do it. We also planted 23 tomato plants- it seemed a bit skimpy, so I might need to fill that out a little. DH was with me when I bought the tomato plants and figured I'd need to break him in gentle- plus, I couldn't fool him into thinking that the hosta and fern plants I bought were really tomatoes- for a guy who doesn't eat vegetables, he's pretty smart. The boys and I felt sorry for him and planted 5 hills of potatoes- the red ones. The one vegetable Bill does eat. So you see why it is awfully sweet of him to spend a whole afternoon plowing a garden- 'cause he knows I love standing in the dirt.

A Rip, Roarin' Storm for Darcie...

Darcie loves a good storm and I thought of her when I saw this one rolling in. This was in the middle of the day and it was a real hum dinger. The sky turned completely black and the rain topped off my new pond in my flower garden- about 2". Wish you could feel the wind blowing- we could barely stand and finally had to get inside as there was a fair amount of lightening and we are the only thing of any height out here on the prairie. We did have some electric worm it's way into our phone lines- hate it when that happens! I do go through those little phone line surge protectors- several each year. You don't have one? I have black scorch marks on my walls around the phone jacks. But those little surge protectors certainly do the job- discovered them the hard way after losing a modem in a summer storm. There was a little bit of hail, but nothing to worry about. Sounded nice on the tin roof.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Road Trip!!!!!

Don'tcha just love a good road trip? Mom and I traveled together from the quilt show in Dayton, Ohio to her sister's home near Toledo, last week. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The only thing that would have made it better was if the van had cruise-control. But ya can't have everything! When we settled into the hotel, I told Mom I was headed to the ice machine and getting a pop. (That's what we Midwesterners call soft drinks.) Silly lady, I think she believed me. She probably didn't notice the copious amount of change I had stuffed into my pockets!! I kept feeding in the quarters and eventually moved up to folding money... OK, she helped! Here we are, alone in a very nice hotel- not something I get to do every day and I figure I was gonna totally immerse myself in the experience... And I had the munchies... and if I'd had a bathing suit, I'd have tried out the pool. Should have waded, anyway. The funny thing about the snack foods was that we picked everything out because so-and-so loves them. Dad loves Almond Joy, Sis loves Funyons-she's more of a salty than sweet snacker, DH Bill loves good old-fashioned Hershey bars. Now, were any of them there to eat them? no... but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. So, when we returned to the room, I sat our plunder down on the dresser and was seized by such a ludicrous fit of laughter, I just had to snap a picture. "We'll have 2 diet sodas with our 5 pounds of sugar, please!" And we're both diabetic!! Oh, really, it's funny. We'd just finished watching Queen Latifah in Last Holiday and she was quite inspiring on really living life... ok, maybe shouldn't take life lessons from a rapper turned actress... but ain't she just gorgeous? Mom got into the spirit of things and threw in the glucose tablets- like we'd be needing them anytime in, oh, say, the next month, and the Altoids- 'cause with those onion flavored carb rings, we'd be needing something curiously strong...

www.thedoormouse.com The Door Mouse is a quiltshop in Bettsville, OH. Wow oh wow!! What a fun and cool place this is. My Aunt Patsy and Uncle Greg took us over there during our day with them. They have 15,000 bolts. That's a whole lot of fabric, my friends! I indulged in about 8 yards of fabric- and that's quite a bit for me. I usually feel so overwhelmed in such big stores- where do you start? Where do you end? If I have a specific project in mind, then I can work with it, but otherwise, I have problems making up my mind... I pretty much like it all. And working in a quiltshop usually keeps my appetite for fiber at a dull ache so I'm not too voracious when I'm out in the world of all you can eat buffets of fabric... But she had just about everything and without a doubt, the widest selection I'd ever seen under one roof.

Can you see the bolts of fabric sitting in front of the bolts of fabric? I was telling a friend of mine about this shop and she tends to be the skeptical type and so she says, "Yeah, but did you really see anything you hadn't seen before?" Yes!! I really did. And that's why I bought 8 yards of fabric. The lady who owns this place is so sweet... you should check out her website- if you dare! I'll take a picture maybe, tomorrow, of the lovely "candy" I bought. Absolutely none of it goes together... what what do you expect from a road weary girl on a rather deflating sugar low?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Do not attempt to adjust your screen

...this image is horribly out of focus. But I still think it is an awfully sweet picture. And it seems to say more about them than the other picture I took. This is my mom's twin sister Patsy and her husband Greg. Mom and I took a little road trip last weekend and had a very pleasant visit with them. I had a great time. My Aunt Patsy is a wonderful cook... I'm beginning to see a connection here between my wandering waistline and the inordinately large number of great cooks in my family... Oh I guess I'll just have to suffer through! She made a really delicious lunch of beans and cornbread with a fresh fruit salad and my oh my, brownie sundae for dessert!!! I think I just gained 5 pounds thinking about it!! She had the brilliant idea to make her brownies in these over-sized muffin tins- very pretty and super-thick so they were fudgy in the middle and chewy all the way around. I love a great brownie. And I'm thinking they would freeze very well. Aunt Patsy is a hospice nurse- she has a very serene kind of personality- quiet with a twinkle in her eye.

Uncle Greg... well, these are some of his latest quilt blocks.

Aren't they incredible? He does wonderful work. All hand pieced and these blocks are full of his hand-painted and stamped fabrics. The colors look a little deeper than they are, actually, but I think you get the idea. He says he has almost enough to start putting the top together. You should have seen the huge pile he has!! I asked if he knew how to make a quilt smaller than Georgia?! Apparently not! And, as he loves piecing, why should he settle for a small quilt? He says that the quilt is really incidental for him- he just loves the process. You see, Uncle Greg is, pretty much, confined to an easy chair or bed. He can't sit up like most folks and has to sit hunched over. And he endures intense pain- which seems to send him slowly rocking as he sweats it out as best he can. I think he has some pretty powerful dissociative abilities. But amazingly, I never heard him complain, but was wowed by his casual talk of how "the good Lord" was looking out for him. And Aunt Patsy and Uncle Greg were so sweet, they even offered to take us to their favorite quilt shop. It was a 40 mile drive and you could tell it really cost him, but he seemed so happy that we enjoyed it. They have a bed in the back of their van and I sat back there and enjoyed his company while he endured the bumps and curves without a bit of fuss. Aunt Patsy likes to sew and even made that cool batik shirt she has on- batik designed by a friend of theirs. We had a lovely visit- I think 2 years is too long to wait to see your sister. Evabeth was sad that I was leaving to go to Ohio, but when she discovered that I would be taking her Grandmother to see her sister that she hadn't seen in two years... well, she was alright with that!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Spa treatment and then a quilt give-away...
Oh yeah, it was a good, good week. sigh. That's me feelin' all warm and fuzzy. We stopped in North Carolina to spend the night on our way home from Florida. My Uncle Tommy and Aunt Shelia live there in a gorgeous hilltop home. My parents were there because my dad was helping to do some concrete work. My mom was coming home with us. So we got to see my dad, visit my Uncle Tommy and Uncle Paul- it's a big family- and bring my mom home with us. It was a good place to stop and a little over halfway home. I spied a double wedding ring quilt in their basement- I have a talent for that, and as it was covered in saw dust- they are still working on their house, my mom and I shook it out and wrapped it in a sheet to keep it free from more dust. The next morning, we mentioned to Aunt Shelia what we had done, so she'd know where to find her quilt. And she says that she was probably just going to throw it away. "Umm. Can I have it?" "Oh honey I have tons of stuff you can have if you want it." So I came away from Aunt Shelia's house with 5 antique quilts and one quilt top and one crocheted afghan. Oh, and a tea cup and saucer that will make Sarah green. How cool is that? And she wasn't kidding about having tons of stuff. Really great stuff. There were boxes and trunks in basements and closets. Every bed in the house had beautiful quilts on them that her grandma had made. She said that she didn't mind giving some of the old ones to someone who would enjoy them. Now, I figure I fit that description. I am so tickled with the ones that she gave me. This old quilt- which was made by her great-grandmother, was in the best condition. It is all hand-pieced and quilted. The backing is that very coarse linen-type fabric that was used in the late 1800's. I figure it is pretty old. The colors are still very nice. There's a lot of red and brown, blue and even some cheddar. And doesn't it look real sharp over my piano? And the others? Well, you'll just have to wait until I get them hung and pics taken. A couple of the other ones are quite worn and a little sad, but I hope my quilts are that well-loved. I'm not making any decisions about their restoration until I've lived with them for a while. I have a long rack in my bedroom and three of them are there to greet me each morning. A double wedding ring, a crown of thorns, and one I am not familiar with. The other one is hanging in the guest room, so there's really no reason why I haven't taken a picture of it yet. My great grandmother Oe would have liked it- lots of red and blue. I need to get her grandmother's and great-grandmother's name so I can make some labels for them. You know how I love proper documentation. Ok, any documentation.

I am headed for Dayton, tomorrow, to set up for the quilt show there. I am just the grunt pushing and pulling everything into place- Tonya has made me 5 different planograms- so far. That's the deal when your boss is a landscape architect as well as a quilt shop owner. Lots of blueprints. We'll see which one works. She is going to Spring Market, so I guess she'll never know if I don't get it all just right. I'll do my best. Then, since I am halfway there, my Mom and I are going to Toledo to see her twin sister- my Aunt Patsy, and my Uncle Greg- the one who quilts. It'll be a 2-day trip in all. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm looking for a Cracker Barrel along the way.

I made 18 different entrees for 10, yesterday. Once a month cooking- done halfway. Really, doing all 30 meals is a real killer. I didn't get to bed until 2:30am as it was. And I kept it real simple. It helps if you do all the shopping the day before, but it didn't turn out that way. It is such a good feeling to know that the meals for the next 2 weeks are all, just about, taken care of. I love to cook, but sometimes, I just hate making the decision early enough in the day about what I'll be cooking. This way, there isn't too much to think about. I think we have already discussed the fact that my braincells are all on layaway- for when I can afford to get them back.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

First things first...
Meet "The Aunts"...
These are my dad's sisters. June is in the middle, Eva on the left and Dottie on the right. I love this picture of them in the kitchen. They are all incredibly wonderful cooks. Incredibly wonderful people. As different as they can be, but they love and adore each other. It is very difficult to sum up such beautiful women. Have you ever been around someone who makes you feel great for the rest of the day? The kind words that they say and the loving way they treat you just lifts you up and makes you feel like there isn't anything you can face that would make you lose that security? Gracious. They are so very gracious. I can't say that I have ever seen the closeness that these three share anywhere else. They compliment and pet on each other. They humor each other and talk often. But to tell you the truth, that's the way they are with everyone. And I got to spend a week with all three of them. How cool is that? We stayed with my Aunt June, and the kids took turns with all three aunts. Aunt June wouldn't let me cook or clean or do laundry. We'd sleep in and then she'd fix breakfast. We'd go to the beach and spend the whole day. Come home in time to clean up and have a delicious dinner that all three of the sister's had fixed. Everyday, all week. On our last night there, they finally relented and allowed me to make the dinner rolls. When I'd try to help out, they'd shoo me off and say, "You're on vacation!" It made me realize that maybe I haven't had a real vacation in 20 years! giggle. It was like a spa getaway and I came home actually feeling pretty rested. Imagine that. According to the children, they each received the same royal treatment when they'd sleep over at the the other Aunts. Aunt Eva kept trying to keep them all and the other aunts would have to firmly insist that they wanted some kids, too. DH says that we've never had people fighting over who gets to keep us! Wednesday, they took me and my friend Lindsay out to lunch. A girls' lunch out! Oh, wonderful. To sit at a waterfront restaurant (Aunt Catfish's- I thought that was a funny and appropriate name!) surrounded by these wonderful women. All laughing and sharing stories. Yes, Sarah, I had the shrimp. They are all great with the children and the children really loved being there. They could write a book about love and treating people with such generosity. You just don't get to experience that often these days and I know how blessed I am to be in such a wonderful family.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

All tuckered out...
and in and over!!! Wow!! Did we ever have a great time!! That's Abe with my Uncle Bob. Or "Bub" as Abe calls him. They were having a male bonding moment. I do believe that it was the third time they had watched Godzilla in as many days. Abe just loved it! And he loved his "Jume" too! That's my Aunt June. She would make him eggs and biscuits every morning. Spoiled him silly. And the rest of us, too!

I have so much I want to talk about, but I really need to figure out a way to sub-divide and collate! WOOOOOO!!! Did I mention what a great time we all had?? I'm still giddy. But tuckered out. I'm home. I'm happy. Life's good and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Hope to slow down some tomorrow.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How Blue can you make me...
I'm over the blues! Woo-hoo!!! Aren't they the sweetest little things? It was so worth going through all that hassle of working through these dresses. They were so tickled with them- and the bride loved them and thought they looked adorable. Boo had a few moments of nervousness at the rehearsal, but the wedding was a cinch- I think they were just so tickled with their puffy dresses! She and I finally made a deal. I would put curlers in her hair (which is naturally curly) and she would be happy during the wedding. She took her word quite seriously and smiled the whole time. Eva had curlers and she wants to do whatever Eva does. That was an easy fix. The wedding was lovely and the wedding cake was pretty good, too! The bride was barefoot and get this... they had their first kiss, ever, when the preacher said they could!!

The trip to Florida was mercifully uneventful. My DH kept saying how impressed he was with my packing. That went a long way in making me feel like I had accomplished something. Hey, I was on the road... that was a major accomplishment. Kentucky was very pretty with Spring showing her face. Tennessee was even prettier, but there was a price tag on everything. No not literally, but it just seemed very touristy. Georgia... well, my DB lives in GA and loves it, so I'm gonna be nice. The traffic was not fun and the people were understandably grumpy. Only ran into one friendly face outside of family. My DB, David flies planes and so he took me on a tour of the world through the satellites. Found my folks farm and our house. That was cool. Spent the evening and night with his dear family and that was a real treat- especially for all the cousins. Arrived in Florida, Wednesday evening. Wedding was Friday afternoon, and now it's time to relax and have a little vacation. ahhhhh...

My DSis, Laurie has a fancy-shmancy embroidery machine. "I" made two redwork pieces to later sew into bodices for jumpers for the girls... maybe I'll make another tomorrow for Maddie. And then, and this was FUN... "I" sewed a label for Sarah's quilt challenge quilt! Prettiest label I've ever seen! Lots of blue and just a touch of orange! They are feeding us too well, but figure I'll just try to be good when I can and succumb when I can't! What's a girl to do? We are leaving for Daytona in a couple days and will spend a few days there before returning to Indiana and time to plant the garden. I sat in the sun for 10 whole minutes, today and nearly got burned. My pale northern skin isn't used to the UVs here. That's what locals call the sunshine.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Moments of truth...
Here is a quilt that I gave away yesterday, to my friend, Marianne. She is graduating from college, next Saturday- while we're gone. It was extra sunny when I took the picture, so it's kinda washed out. No, really, it was much brighter. The quilting design is one of Keryn's pantos that I bought while in Chicago. Thank you Keryn! I like it very much. I made the quilt top last fall before my last trip to Florida- to spend a few days with Sarah. Actually, I made 3 quilt tops of the same pattern, just different batiks. Good thing, Marianne loves blue and green, as I certainly didn't have time to make her another quilt before this sweeping saga of a trip to Florida. There's no quicker way to get me to put a book back on a shelf than to describe it as a "sweeping saga." That's their way of saying- it takes you through way more of a family tree than you'd ever want to go on your own. That's how I'm feeling about this trip- taking me farther than I'd ever want to go!

I am "finished" with the flowergirl dresses. It was worse than I feared- putting a zipper in a seam that contains 16 layers of satin was beyond my capabilities. I cried all over the place the entire time I sewed on them. But I did it. It just doesn't look that great, but maybe the girls will get to wear their hair down... yeah, that'll cover those ole nasty zippers. The dresses, themselves, look nice and the girls love them. I'll post pics from the wedding. I decided that I "needed" some hot and spicey red pepper chicken as a reward for the chore. (Using food as a solution for something it was never intended to solve. Not a good way to start a vacation. Someday, I'll learn.) I still need to stitch the linings down and hem them by hand, but they're all pinned up and waiting. I hope to finish them tonight, before we hit the road. Won't that be relaxing?

I'll need a glass of caffeine if I'm gonna get the things done that need to be done, today. Mostly just rounding up a few more things for the girls to wear and getting my laundry caught up. Why is it that the children with the most clothes- the girls- always have the hardest time finding them? DH is running all my errands. Kids are housecleaning. I think I'll end up like my folks and just stay home from now on. But the kids will have such a good time. I think we'll all have a good time. I can do this. Don't worry, Sarah, I still plan on joining you in TN, in June. I just don't plan on bringing ten other people with me! Shew!